CHILDHOOD TRAUMA – DOES IT EVER END? by Art Smukler, author & psychiatrist

Childhood trauma is rampant. 5% of all American children are hospitalized for acute or chronic illness, injuries or disability. This doesn’t include all the millions of children who suffer trauma secondary to poor parenting.

Adults who seek psychiatric help have conduits to their past that are often hidden from their conscious minds. Whether they were ill, injured, abused, abandoned, ignored, devalued or suffered from a major psychiatric illness like Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder, they suffered when they were kids and they’re suffering now as adults.

According to statistics from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), victims of childhood trauma live 19 years less than non-victims. That’s an astounding number! If you think about the increase in alcohol abuse, drug abuse, poor decision making and years of chronic stress, it makes sense.

Medication alone can help decrease symptoms, but it certainly doesn’t deal with the hurt, low self-esteem and agony that adults carry forward from their past. To not deal with the bottled-up stress can lead to an autoimmune system that has been overwhelmed for years and at some point can no longer protect against illness and cancer.

Our lives are a continuum and we need to be in touch with how that continuum affects us now. If we don’t deal with our past in a timely fashion, our bodies may deal with us in a very unkindly manner.

For those of you who experienced childhood trauma, I’d be interested in how you dealt with it. What helped? What didn’t? What was it like being alone and misunderstood? Any experiences with childhood hospitalizations? Any ideas from professionals?

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